‘What do you do?’ and other questions
Someone asked me yesterday what I did, what was my profession.
“I am, um, a writer.”
This was the first time I said such a thing, and in another, perhaps bolder, move, I decided to let it hang in the air. No explanations. No follow-ups. No resume recitation.
Surely the man who asked would swat down this little statement. Surely he would see through it, with its “um” right down the middle, cleaving the fact — “I am” — from the fiction — “a writer.”
We stood there a beat. I waited for the laugh, the assault, the challenge. I did not prepare to defend myself. I own no armor.
There was no laugh. No assault. No challenge.
You are what you believe.
Next time I’ll drop the “um.”